Michael Breheny, from Boldon Colliery, has spent more than 40 years working with friends to raise millions for childhood cancer patients.
But now, as he approaches his 70th birthday, he has decided to hang up his trainers and is set to to run his final Children’s Cancer Run in Newcastle this Sunday.
Michael started raising funds for children battling cancer back in 1981 when he was a member of a group of cyclists who began yearly sponsored cycle rides from Newcastle RVI to St James’s Hospital in Leeds.
The event was started by Ray Greaves in memory of his daughter Caroline, who sadly passed away from cancer aged just 14.
The cycle challenge soon grew to 185 riders and raised more than £1.8million for the North of England Children’s Cancer Research Fund over the years.
Michael took part in his first Children’s Cancer Run in 1987 with his children Lisa and Paul.
Now, 35 years later, the grandfather-of-four will take on the run for the final time alongside daughter Lisa Langley, now aged 43, as well as granddaughters Erin Langley, 18, and Olivia Langley, 14, from South Shields.
The three generations will take part together in what Michael has said will be his last race before he proudly hands over the fundraising baton to his children and his four grandchildren.
He said: “I’m so proud of everything we’ve done and the people I’ve met, it has just been the best of times. Since that first cycle ride, we just kept on doing everything we could to raise money.
“We have achieved a lot for such a worthy cause. When I think back on some of the young cancer patients I have met over the years, I would love to think that quite a few of those children are still here living healthy lives.
“Now that I’m turning 70, I have decided this will be my last run, although I will keep helping in other ways. It has been an honour to be involved with fundraising for children’s cancer for so long and playing my role. I count myself as lucky because my family is healthy but that doesn’t stop me thinking of others and if I can help by raising money, then that’s the goal.
Michael also supported a charity night at The Shack in Boldon Colliery, in memory of his cycling partner and good friend Jim Cooper who recently passed away. The event, organised by Jim’s family, aimed to raise a further £1000 for the cause.
Chris Peacock, Chairman of Children’s Cancer North and founder of the Children’s Cancer Run, said: “We are so incredibly grateful to Michael and his friends who have put so much effort into raising money for us over the last four decades. It is amazing to think Michael first did the Children’s Cancer Run with his daughter 35 years ago and now they will run as three generations all supporting such a worthy cause.
“We hope this year’s run will be another huge success and would like to invite everyone to come along and join in the fun.”
The Children’s Cancer Run is still open for entries. For more information visit https://childrenscancernorth.org.uk/event/childrens-cancer-run-2022/